Curriculum Image

The Curriculum is organized into six different units, each covering a distinct topic. These units are divided into lessons, which are made up of several different activities. You can download each lesson as a PDF, or view and download activities individually. Use the search bar to sort lessons and activities by name, topic, or standards.

                                                                                                                                  (Download Reef Pulse Cover Art!)    


Welcome to Reef Pulse, an action-packed, hands-on adventure through the Earth’s oceans, over its land, and into the universe beyond. Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative’s new inquiry-based marine science curriculum for grades K-2, Reef Pulse, introduces students to astronomy, biology, chemistry, navigation, physics, and scientific investigation in six exciting units. Using the curriculum, students learn how living things depend on non-living things in a complete, functioning Earth system.

Unit 1: Matter! begins students’ scientific journey through Reef Pulse by introducing them to basic concepts about matter. Lessons exploring atoms, states of matter, and the nature of light and electricity encourage students to engage, explore, and experiment with the natural world that surrounds them.

Unit 2: Water! continues students’ journey through Reef Pulse by exploring sources of energy. Lessons about wave energy, heat energy, and their influence on the water cycle instill a solid foundation for students to understand the scope of this curriculum. The students begin to think about weather patterns in a particular habitat and discover the science of meteorology.

Unit 3: Zoom! deepens students’ understanding of the scientific method by focusing on the sorting and classification of Earth’s materials and living things. Lessons investigating non-living things, ecosystems, and habitats showcase the variety of subjects scientists can study and classify and explain to students the criteria used for doing so.

Unit 4: Explore! provides students with a universal perspective by examining the Earth’s role in space. Lessons detailing how the sun, moon, stars, and gravity influence what happens on Earth give students a context in which to study life on Earth.

Unit 5: Alive! furthers students’ journey through Reef Pulse by presenting the criteria used to characterize living things. Lessons focused on metabolism, respiration, response to stimuli, and reproduction provide clear metrics for students to identify life. Additional lessons making the distinction between vertebrates and invertebrates reinforce students’ sorting and classification skills.

Unit 6: Energy! completes the journey through Reef Pulse by linking students’ new understanding of energy, movement, and living things. Lessons explaining mechanical energy, chemical energy, and the food chain draw from knowledge students have gained in each of the previous Units. Students conclude that all life on Earth is interconnected and discover how they as living things are a part of the reef pulse! We have created an interactive website with more resources: In addition, the Orientation Guide explains the mechanics of the curriculum and provides tips on teaching, project ideas, standards information, inquiry tools, and more. We wish you a fun and educational journey through the reef!

  For more information about the development of this curriculum or how to use it, please visit the Orientation Guide section.


Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative Research Program | 2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall #718 | Honolulu, HI 96822 | (808) 956-7479 | |